Wearables

Fraunhofer tech tracks security workers at big events

The system was successfully tested last month, when it was used to track 45 individuals during the Rhine in Flames event
The system was successfully tested last month, when it was used to track 45 individuals during the Rhine in Flames event
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The system was successfully tested last month, when it was used to track 45 individuals during the Rhine in Flames event
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The system was successfully tested last month, when it was used to track 45 individuals during the Rhine in Flames event
About the size of a car key, the device can be attached to a uniform or stuffed in a pocket
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About the size of a car key, the device can be attached to a uniform or stuffed in a pocket

If you're managing security at a large outdoor event, then it's important that you know where all of your staff are – at all times. A new system developed at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology is designed to let users do just that, and it doesn't require a mobile phone network.

The system is centered around small wearable tracking devices, that monitor their wearer's location via GPS. That data is continuously transmitted to a computer at a central control center, utilizing the LoRa (Long Range) wireless data transmission protocol. Commonly used in Internet-of-Things connected products, LoRa consumes little power and has a range of several kilometers.

At the control center, administrators are able to view everyone's real-time location on a digital situation map. Additionally, should anyone urgently require assistance while they're out in the field, they can simply press a big red panic button on their device. Doing so will highlight their location on the map, and bring up a notification that they need help.

About the size of a car key, the device can be attached to a uniform or stuffed in a pocket
About the size of a car key, the device can be attached to a uniform or stuffed in a pocket

The system was recently tested at Germany's "Rhine in Flames" fireworks event, where a total of 45 police officers, firefighters, emergency care assistants, and stewards were equipped with and tracked by the devices. Only two antennae were required in order to cover the whole area, which spanned a considerable stretch of the Rhine River.

The technology is now being developed further, as part of the European Union MONICA (Management Of Networked IoT Wearables - Very Large Scale Demonstration of Cultural Societal Applications) project.

Source: Fraunhofer via AlphaGalileo

2 comments
Ralf Biernacki
This is the worst idea. If the system is hacked into, any tech-savvy criminal or terrorist will have real-time warning of where the cops are. And don't tell me "the system is secure"---look at car anti-theft technology as an example. Car thieves have no problem staying ahead of the curve. Now the same criminals will have a cop radar. Think of some potential applications: a smartphone app flagging security personnel locations on a GPS map; a bomb that goes off when a cop comes within 3 yards; a VR app that highlights covert security in a crowd; a spoofed alarm signal that tells all security personnel to rush to a particular location.
Wolf0579
I can see this easily being mis-used as a tool for big brother. I'll bet China is highly interested, if they don't already have this tech... and the way they steal everything not nailed down and encrypted six ways to Sunday, I'd wager that they've already stolen the specs.